Prevent folic acid deficiency to keep both mother and child safe and healthy during pregnancy.
Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is an important vitamin among women of reproductive age and during pregnancy for the growth and development of the fetus. It reduces the risk of anemia and peripheral neuropathy among pregnant mothers. It also reduces the risk of premature birth and birth defects in the fetus.
According to a prevalence survey for the "Folic Acid Act" presented by Senator Pia Cayetano in 2019, more than half of pregnant women in the Philippines, or 51.7 percent, were folate deficient.
Women should consume at least 400 mcg of folate per day before pregnancy and 600 mcg/day throughout pregnancy. Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, asparagus, fruits, papayas, bananas, avocados, mangos, eggs, shellfish, beef liver, and some fortified grains are all high in folate. However, the required amount may be difficult to reach with only food. Thus, folic acid supplementation is recommended.
To prevent folic acid deficiency and anemia, daily supplementation of iron-folic acid (IFA) once a day upon confirmation of pregnancy for 180 days is recommended. IFA supplementation is provided free to pregnant women during prenatal visits in health centers.
As per Proclamation No. 200, s. 2002, the Safe Motherhood Week is celebrated every second week of May each year. With the Department of Health (DOH) as the lead agency, the National Safe Motherhood Program aims to provide all Filipino women with access to the necessary health services required for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. It aims to promote the health and well-being not only of mothers but of the whole family.
Pregnant women should have at least four (4) pre-natal check-ups during the entire pregnancy. Take IFA supplements for 180 days, use adequately iodized salt in food preparation; prepare a birth plan, and give birth in a birthing facility assisted by trained health workers. Mothers are also counseled on breastfeeding, family planning, and childcare, among others. Post-natal visits are also important to monitor the mother and baby’s health. These interventions need to be provided to all pregnant and lactating mothers as part of the First 1000 Days Program as stipulated by RA 11148 or the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Magnanay Act”.
Healthy mothers will give birth to healthy babies. The health and well-being of the mother will have a great influence on the baby’s early life up to adulthood. Maintain a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy. Eat nutritious food, be physically active, stop smoking, and limit alcohol intake.
Practice good nutrition in your family. Dahil inay, espesyal ka!
- 2016 Nutrition Month Talking Points
- Healthy Pilipinas Facebook Page
Written by: NO I Janna Alexia M. Necio and NPC Milagros Elisa V. Federizo